THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS
Friday, January 31, 1986
pora who endeavored to come to Palestine to receive a pure soul, who
institutions, Jewish public and religious life was destroyed. After the fall
spared neither money nor efforts and came by sea and by land and were
of France, Spain served for tens of thousands of refugees as a landbridge
not afraid of being drowned in the sea or captured by cruel masters (pi-
to the high seas, which were dominated by the Allies. By the summer of
rates): because they were concerned primarily for their spirits and their
1942, over 20,000 Jewish refugees passed through Spain, 10,500 of whom
souls and not for their bodies and money, therefore they were turned into
were assisted by the HICEM office in Lisbon. Less than 1,000 were unable
spirits, measure for measure. You, however, who could have come_ to
to continue the journey, however, and were imprisoned with other refu-
Palestine like them, but failed to come because of your cupidity, having
gees in jails or in the Miranda de Ebro concentration camp. Some refugees
made a principal concern of your wealth and your bodies, while consider-
who crossed the border illegally were sent back to France.
ing your souls and spirits a lesser concern: you shall remain corporeal,
In the summer of 1942 when the "Final Solution" was initiated by
measure for measure." ... (Scholem 1973: 73-74)
Germany, a new wave of Jewish refugees reached Spain, and their num-
bers grew after the occupation of southern France. Initially there was no
Peters has drawn on archeology, on prayers of all faiths, on Scriptue and Christian
change in Spain's policy: refugees were accepted and arrested, and some
and Moslem holy texts as well as historic documents to make his work as thoroughly
were deported. In December 1942, however, when the Allies wanted
researched as one could possible imagine.
French deserters to cross the Spanish border, Spain had to agree to stop
It seems inevitable when dealing with Palestine of the last century that Mark
deporting refugees and allow them to leave for North Africa and Portugal.
Twain should be drawn in to the cast of characters who visited the Holy Land and ex-
In April 1943, Spain permitted the establishment in Madrid of the Repre-
pressed their views in recording their tourist judgments. As Peters states in reference
sentation of American Relief Organizations, most of whose budget came
to Mark Twain:
from the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (AJDC). About
The Muslims of Jerusalem were chiefly passive spectators to this new
5,600 Jews survived by fleeing to Spain during the second half of the war.
colonialism. The local authorities had to be petitioned and paid and there
In 1943, Spain was faced with an additional rescue problem Four
was doubtless employment to be had in working for the new consulates
thousand Jews — of whom 3,000 were in France and the rest in the Bal-
and the rapidly expanding colonies of foreigners, as everything from cooks
kans as well as a number of Jews from Spanish Morocco who were living
and translators to movers of stone and earth. The crumbling medieval fab-
in French Morocco possessed partial or full Spanish citizenship. Most of
ric of the city was not repaired but dug into in search for an even more
the Spanish consuls protected these Jews, eien when they were instructed
ancient past — the new explorers did not much fancy Islamic antiquities —
to act only when Spanish sovereignty' was affected. On Jan. 28, 1943,
but in the old Christian quarter, where most of the newcomers lived and
Eichmann and his associates presented Spain with the alternative of either
worked, there was new construction, as there was in the northern and
recalling these Jewish subjects within a specified time or abandoning them
western suburbs of what could already be discerned as the "Old City."
to slaughter. On March 18, 1943 Spain decided that only those who could
Turkish sovereignty over Jerusalem remained firmly established — the
prove their Spanish citizenship would be permitted to enter the country.
city would not pass into other hands until the peace settlements after the
They would have to live in specified towns and would remain in Spain
First World War — but by the early nineteenth century Jerusilem had be-
until they could be removed elsewhere. As long as there was one group of
come in effect the world's possession, not in the sense that it had always
these "repatriates" in Spain, the next group could not enter the country.
been, what Mark Twain called in 1867 "a dream world ... sacred to poetry ,
This policy was strictly adhered to.
and tradition," or even in that way that Twain no longer capable of ap-
Since the Allied delayed for a year and a quarter the establishment of
preciating, as the land rendered holy by the acts of God, but now as a kind
a refugee center in North Africa, which they had agreed upon at the Ber-
of freehold to be measured, sounded, dug, rebuilt, restored, and recol-
muda Conference, the AJDC could not remove the "expatriation" by
onized under appeals to science, theology, or tradition that barely masked
Spanish consuls without having recourse to repatriation; the rest died or
the political, military, and financial force majeure that lay beneath.
saved themselves. In the last stages of the Holocaust, Spain joined the re-
scue operation, in Hungary by giving protection certificates to 2,750 Jews
Peters' Jerusalem becomes must reading in all studies about the history of the Holy
who were not Spanish citizens.
City as well as in the historic experiences that have led to the creation of the Zionist
movement. The book has such immense fascination that it is a source volume for
Many crimes were committed in Spain during the Inquisition years commencing in
laymen and scholars alike. It is easy reading and in many portions the episodes read 1942. The corrected condition currently introduced is to the credit of the generations of
like novels. In brief, it is a very great book.
this century and especially the current one. A glorious new chapter is thus being writ-
ten in world history.
'Catastrophe' Into 'Anomaly'
Expressing pride in the end of a five-
century tragedy, a Spanish diplomat commented
that establishment of diplomatic relations be-
tween his country and Israel "rectifies an his-
What a remarkable way of welcoming good
relations that will include exchange of ambas-
sadors and formation of a long-sought friend-
The Inquisition will never be forgotten,
Torquemada was among the bigots who led
Jews - who would not abandon their faith to the
fagots lit in public squares. They were the
foinenters of hatred who were responsible for
the emergence of Marranoism.
Conditions had begun to change at the start
of this century. In 1909 the ban on Jewish wory
ship was abandoned. In 1968 the "edict of ex-
pulsion" was erased.
There are come 15,000 Jews in Sp' ain at Abraham Shalom Yahuda
present. Their presence began to be re-established, although at the outset by a very
few, at the commencement of the 1900s.
Under the rule of King Alfonso XIII, in 1902, Jews began to return to Spain in
small numbers. A scholar who gained fame in those early years was Abraham Shalom
Yahuda, Bible scholar and Orientalist, who was named to head the Hebrew language
and literature department at the University of Madrid, He held that post from 1915 to
During World War I, Dr. Max Nordau was given sanctuary in Spain. It was upon
his release from a French prison where he was incarcerated as an "enemy alien" be
cause he as a native of Austria-Hungary.
a time of new diplomcatic relations that
It is especially important to indicate at ,
Spain was an escape area for persecuted German Jews during World War II.
So muc h guilt is accredited to the countries considering themselves and sually ad-
judged as democratic for failure to assist in rescuing Jews from Nazis , that the
Spanish record could be viewed as superb. Here is the chapter of de n in rescue
work conducted , officially by Spain, outlined in Encyclopedia Judaica:
From 1933 until the Civil War, Spain became a haven for out 3,000
Jewish refugees. The civil War caused most of them to leave, and after the
all non-Catholic communities had to close their
nationalist victory, when
In Novels And Histories
Jewish interest in Spain never waned. Many volumes have been written about the
Marranos, the Inquisition and modern developments.
Of current interest is the third volue in the series The Jews of Moslem Spain by
Eliahu Ashtor, published by the Jewish Publication Society of America; and a novel,
The Spanish Doctor by Matt Cohen, a Beaufort Publication.
Completing his trilogy The Jews of Moslem Spain, Matt Cohen draws upon many
historic records, diaries, the creative Jewish literary activities.
Moslem and Jewish sources are drawn upon in'the compilation.
Especially at this time, this study is valuable because it traces the rule of Spain by
the Islamic powers and the status of the Jews under those conditions.
The Europe of the 14th Century, the massacre in Toledo, Spain in 1369, the horrors
of the Black Death have their tracings in the hero of the Spanish Doctor. It is the pow-
erful novel about a Jewish doctor who confronts persecution.
As a defiance of persecution and adherence to faith, the Matt Cohen novel has
power and inspiration for all who are studying the subjects relating to the Marranos
and their resistance to horror. A quotation provided as a guide and inspiration for this
"We are condemned to life but we must allow the children to know hope. If they
are mistakes let them be known as God's mistakes. And that was what they were called
as their,mothers -- banded together for solace — watched children playing in the rub-
1 ble of the New Jerusalem of Toledo."
In Good Will Movement
Everett. R. Clinchy, who died last week at the age of 89, counted Detroit Jewry
among the initial supporters of what was for years hailed as the American Good Will
Movement under the title National Conference of Christians and Jews.
When he organized the NCCJ it was a penniless start. This commentator was
among the first he had reached here with the result an appeal addressed to the Jewish
Welfare Federation for the support of a cause that was to oppose all racial and religious
bigotries. The. Federation responded with a $100 contribution. It was also the start of
the Detroit Round Table of the NCCJ in which this writer has shared affiliation with
fellow Jews, Catholics and Protestants since 1928.
The Detroit Round Table has risen to even greater heights in the interceding years.
It is more powerful in opposition to race hatred. It is no longer hestitant in its support
of Israel and the Zionist cause as it was for a few years in the late 1930s. It continues
and traditions established by Everett Clinchy and his memory is therefore honored
With appreciation of the work he began nearly seven decades ago.
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